A man wakes up at the first sign of dawn, as the first rays of sunlight lift the darkness filling his small home, barely large enough for his wife and three children. He and the eldest son put on their simple woven outer clothes, and head outside to tend the chickens while his wife sees to the younger children and starts a morning fire. Outside, the fields are covered in a creeping fog over the rows of wheat that fill the small field behind a low stone wall. As the first smoke curled from their small chimney, father and son walked back with a few eggs for the morning meal.
The rumble of approaching horses break the peace of the moment. The father hands his clutch of eggs carefully to his eldest, as he tells the boy to head inside and keep everyone out of sight. The father picks up an ax and begins chopping some wood as the riders come over a hill. The lightly armored fighting men bear the pennants of the new king and his freshly installed vassal lord and ride horses colorfully barded with the lord’s house colors. The father watches as the riders approach and rein in their horses in front of his home.
After the briefest of greetings, the lead rider informs the father that the new lord had laid claim to the man’s farm and its vicinity for his private hunting grounds. By the authority of the king, the father is ordered to remove himself, his wife, and his children and relocate to the hamlet north of the castle. The father, knuckles white on the shaft of the ax, bites back a protest and nods. The riders ride onward, leaving the father to stare at their backs in impotent rage and despair, his story joining the untold millions throughout the history of man’s tyranny over other men.
“In the former sense, a man’s land, or merchandize,
or money is called his property.”
It was from within the chains of monarchism and mercantilism that capitalism was born, the truly revolutionary idea that the right to own property was not limited to the blooded elite, born into both political and financial power, but all people should have the right to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” (Fourth Amendment) and to better themselves to the limits of the productive use of their property, talents, and personal ambition.
Unfortunately for humanity, capitalism was not the only ideological reaction to centuries of the tyranny of blooded elite. It occurred to some that the “right of property” itself was the problem, not merely the bejeweled elite that lorded it over others, and thus collectivism, the absolute moral antithesis of capitalism, was born. At the root of this philosophical ideology is that no one should own anything, and that ownership of property necessarily required the exploitation of the labor of others.
These two competing ideologies took root in western societies, beginning centuries of political and economic struggle: capitalism, which elevated property rights of all to that of kings, and collectivism, which reduced property rights of all to that of peasants. It was capitalism that sparked the American Revolution and the broader western Capitalist Revolution that followed. Collectivism infected the eastern nations of Europe, finding its deepest roots in Russia.
The west, imperfectly embracing the blessings of universal property rights for all, bore the fruits of innovation and personal ambition as free people maximized the use of their labor and property to their fullest potential. The east, denying the property rights to anyone, fell to famine and death.
“There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to
pay for what he does not want merely because
you think it would be good for him.”
However, even as central as capitalism has been to American culture, the political and economic dominance of western countries, and even what it means to be free, no principle of Conservatism has been so violated by both major parties for the better part of the last 100 years. The Founding Fathers, who fought a war against arguably the most powerful European power of their day over taxes amounting to a few pennies on trivial items, would scarcely recognize the political and economic servitude that their posterity has subjected themselves to in America.
Even self-professed “conservatives” vehemently defend the seizure of property through confiscatory taxation to pay for “needs of state“, as if tax revenue cannot be raised in any way other than shaking down private citizens of their hard earned wages. Today, Americans hand over their property in amounts that even King George III would have found unconscionable. When individuals no longer enjoy absolute dominion to their own property, can we really claim to be a capitalist society anymore?
Too many Americans have abandoned the very principles of ownership that the American militiamen fought and died defending. The American public has ceded absolute political and economic power back to our governments, and, while the economy remains at least superficially capitalistic, there’s no denying that collectivism has saturated American politics. Sadly, even those who think they oppose collectivism are, push come to shove, functionally collectivists who clearly don’t understand either capitalism or collectivism.
“The moment the idea is admitted into society, that
property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and
that there is not a force of law and public justice to
protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”
As long as there are those that believe the state has any claim to any portion of the wages, salaries, or properties of any individual, then we are not a capitalist society. As long as the wages, salaries, or properties of individuals can be confiscated by the government “for the good of the collective“, then we live in a collectivist society. For those of us that are true capitalists, believing, without reservation, in the sacredness of private ownership, we have a duty to restore that which has been lost and to conserve the revolutionary idea of real freedom of which capitalism is a fundamental and necessary condition.
How can an individual consider himself or herself a Conservative if they do not strive to conserve every right and principle of the Founding, of which, property, as much as life and liberty, is absolutely necessary? Clearly, they cannot.
For more information, read The Liberty Tax: Defanging the Serpent.
Liberty is For The Win!